Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association
Resolution No. 3-4-17-15 RESOLUTION OF THE GREAT PLAINS TRIBAL CHAIRMAN’S ASSOCIATION

A RESOLUTION OF THE GREAT PLAINS TRIBAL CHAIRMAN’S ASSOCIATION URGING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PASS LEGISLATION DIRECTING THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ESTABLISH AN ESCROW ACCOUNT AND TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS TO IMPLEMENT THE INDIAN SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND PROGRAM AUTHORIZED BY THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009

 

WHEREAS, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association (hereafter GPTCA) is composed of the elected Chairs and Presidents of the federally recognized sovereign Indian Tribes and Nations within the Great Plains Region of the Bureau of Indian Affairs; and

 

WHEREAS, the GPTCA was formed to promote the common interest of its member Sovereign Tribes and Nations; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States has obligated itself to ensure the well-being of sovereign Tribes and Nations of the Great Plains Region through Treaties and federal statutes, including the Snyder Act of 1921, as amended, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975, as amended, and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976, as amended; and

 

WHEREAS, the GPTCA recognizes its responsibility to act to advance the goals of its Tribes and their members and to promote improvements to the health, safety welfare, education, economic development and preservation of the spiritual, cultural, and natural resources of its member Tribes and Nations; and

 

WHEREAS, world-class education for Indian children requires school facilities that provide a safe and healthy environment in which to learn; and

 

WHEREAS, the federal Bureau of Indian Education estimates that eliminating the current backlog in new school construction and school repairs and deferred maintenance would cost $5.5 billion; and

 

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Indian Education provides that forty-two schools are listed in poor conditions; and

 

WHEREAS, the president’s fiscal year 2016 budget request includes $133 million for new school construction and school repairs and deferred maintenance;

 

WHEREAS, tribal leaders, Members of Congress, and those involved with the Indian education community have reached a consensus that securing federal appropriations for these purposes is ever unlikely to address current and future school facility needs; and

 

WHEREAS, recognizing the failure of Congress to appropriate sufficient funds for school construction, for twenty (20) years the Dakota Area Consortium of Treaty Schools (DACTS) has advocated for an alternative mechanism to finance the construction and repair of Indian school facilities; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2009, Congress passed and the President signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Pub. L. 111-5, which authorized $400,000,000.00 in tax credits, to be paid to holders of Indian school construction bonds in lieu of traditional cash interest; and

 

WHEREAS, since 2009, no Indian school construction bonds have been issued because of the lack of a federal escrow account from which to pay the principal amount to the holders of Indian school construction bonds;

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the GPTCA calls on Members of Congress to introduce and ensure the swift enactment of legislation in the 114th Congress directing the Secretary of the Interior to establish such an escrow account and

 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that once a federal escrow account is established, the GPTCA calls on Members of Congress to ensure the appropriation of funds sufficient to enable the full and complete implementation of the Indian school construction bond program.

 

Resolution No. 3-4-17-15

 

CERTIFICATION

 

This resolution was enacted at a duly called meeting of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman's Association held at Prairie Wind Casino, South Dakota on April 17, 2015 at which a quorum was present, with 8 members voting in favor, 0 members not abstaining, and 8 members not present.

 

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